It’s Friday night, and you know what that means? No, not to enter the Multiverse of Madness or to leak documents on suppressing women’s rights. It’s time for All Elite Wrestling, and this Rampage is cracking open the Forbidden Door on more action with Jay Lethal facing Konosuke Takeshita and joshi action in the Owen Hart Foundation Women’s Tournament.
We’re coming to you from the Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena in Baltimore, MD. Excalibur, Taz, Ricky Starks, and “The Wizard” Chris Jericho have the call. But we head straight to the ring for some tag team action and your First Match of the night is…
Toni Storm & Ruby Soho vs Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. & Jamie Hayter
All four women are part of the Owen Hart Women’s Invitational, and this looks to be a barnburner. Storm and Hayter start off, and Hayter manages to overpower early on, while the Baltimore crowd chant, “Hayter Sucks!” Then a tag to Soho and Baker, and Soho goes for pin attempts to end the match early, but the good Doctor quickly escapes the attempts. Soho tags back to Storm, and she rushes in the corner, but Baker sends her crashing to the middle turnbuckle. During Picture in Picture, Baker and Hayter double team and isolate the Australian grappler, making her a Storm in Peril.
Hayter keeps Storm grounded, but Storm gets a desperation German suplex, and she crawls to her corner. A hot tag makes Ruby a Soho en Fuego, as she takes the fight to Hayter and Baker. Now Storm and Soho get on the same page, and they get a nice double team maneuver that has Soho send Baker to middle turnbuckle with a standing Meteora, and Storm nails a vicious hip attack that snaps the Doctor’s head back. But Hayter gets back in with a big boot, and it’s a Pier Four brawl. As the ref tries in vain to reestablish order, Storm slams Hayter to Baker in the middle of the ring, but she gets up and nails an Air Raid Crash to get a two count. Baker setup up with the Lockjaw submission, but Storm rolls through to a pin attempt that Baker kicks out. Hayter and Soho jump back in the ring, and it is total pandemonium, until Storm rolls up Baker in a pin, and the ref counts three and that is enough to get the win for…
Your Winners via Pinfall: Toni Storm & Ruby Soho
After the match, Baker and Hayter are not seeing eye to eye on the finish, so that’ll cause some friction down the road for the team.
Excalibur says the Monkeys in the Truck (apologies to Jericho) has Eddie Kingston on phone to deliver a special message for The Wizard himself. I’m just gonna let the Mad King speak for himself:
“Hey, Chris. Chris, you know who this is? And listen to me. Understand something. I’ve been with a woman, my beautiful wife, for 20 years. She’s seen me beat up. She seen me in a million pieces, and she’s always been able to put me together. But when I walked in that house, and the look on her face was fear…and she started crying.
That’s gonna…Yeah, laugh it up now, my man! That looks beautiful, dawg. That looks great!
My wife was crying. That will be burned in my soul, Chris… forever. This is no longer about pro wrestling. This is no longer about nice, little funny things that we can put on TV. All I care about is making you feel the fear and the pain she hasn’t felt. Jericho… Chris… I’m gonna hurt you… really bad…and it’s gonna be fun.”
The line goes dead, and now Jericho is starting to show some of that fear.
“Smart” Mark Sterling and Tony Nese are backstage, and Nese feels disrespected. He wants premier competition, and next week in Long Island, he wants a match with the undefeated wrestler …Danhausen.
Speaking of mismatches, here is…
Hook vs JD Drake
Take a look at the photo taken by our own George Tahinos below, and let me add the following scene:
Drake: You’re probably wondering how I got in this position? Well, I thought it was a good time to get out of AEW Dark programming, and I was given this opportunity. Now, I thought facing anybody was a great idea, but facing Hook was last on my list, and now I regret everything that led me to this moment.
Anyway, you know how this match ends: a bunch of suplexes to a RedRum submission, and…
Your Winner via Pinfall: Hook
Danhausen comes out and has a proposal for Hook. As he enters the ring to chants of “Hook-hausen,” He offer his hand, and Hook pushes him away. Danhausen then goes to his pockets and offers…potato chips. As he leaves, Hook is considering this as he takes the parting gift.
Not since Steven Blackmon/Al Snow has there been such an odd pairing. Change my mind.
Lexi Nair is with FTR asking their feeling on the Owen Hart Invitational matches between the tag team members. Cash Wheeler states that Dax Harwood was the better man that night, and that’s why he’s in the tournament. Harwood notes that in the first round he’ll be facing Adam Cole next week, and he promises the Undisputed Elite member that he’s bringing the nasty guy in the ring, just for him. Top guy, out.
Now it’s time for some Joshi action, and it’s also a qualifier match for the…
The Owen Hart Foundation Women’s Tournament: Riho vs. Yuka Sakazaki
This is the first time back in the ring for Riho, since she suffered a shoulder injury against Britt Baker in October of last year. As both women feel each other out in the ring, Riho is looking to be back in form and not showing any ring rust. A crossbody to Sakazaki get Riho a two count. Sakazaki shows off her mat magic with a springboard somersault front senton from the ring to the floor, and during Pictures in Picture, Sakazaki is firmly in control over the former AEW women’s champion, and gets a nasty spinning toe hold to a grapevine submission, but Riho struggles and fights her way toward the ring ropes and manages to get her hands on the bottom ropes to break the hold. Sakazaki keeps on targeting the leg, but Riho gets an elbow and then…
Ads (UGH! I hate when they do that when the action is starting to get warmed up! Why even have Picture in Picture? Explain it to me, Tony Khan!)
Back to the action, Sakazaki evades a double stomp and gets Riho in a Northern Lights Bomb for a two count. She tries a springboard crossbody, but Riho lifts her knees for Sakazaki to crash down on her sternum.
Now Riho gets a snap dragon suplex to dump Sakazaki on her head, and attempts a pin, but only gets a close two count. Riho goes back up top, but Sakazaki cuts her off at the pass and them both women come crashing down hard and awkwardly (not sure if it was a Spanish Fly attempt or a flatliner but wasn’t pretty). Both women get back up and there’s forearm shivers by the joshis, and Riho trips up Sakazaki with an inside cradle for the decisive pin.
Your Winner via Pinfall, and Advancing in the Owen Hart Women’s Tournament: Riho
Shawn Spears claims he is the “Giant Killer” and challenges Warlow. While he states that when he was his “accountabili-buddy”, he wanted to make sure Wardlow came off as being invincible like Superman. But spears notes that if Wardlow is the Man of Steel ©, here comes the Kryptonite.
It’s time for America’s Top Team, and Dan Lambert is with Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky. Even though Lambert is a Baltimore native, he runs down the Baltimore crowd, and calls them a bunch of worthless losers like Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti. At that point, Page comes unglued on the mic and calls Guevara and Conti trash. Cue Frankie Kazarian who comes out to the ring, and he always believed in Sky, and supported him. But he points out to the TNT champ that he is now his biggest threat to the belt. Kazarian asks if he’ll grant his shot at the belt.
Page starts to get in his face, and then Sky steps in, and says he will be a fighting champ, and will keep the title, and not have it passed around like Conti backstage (whoa! Sick Burn!). Sky also tells Lambert that the TNT belt he’s wearing needs to be put in trophy case because only *he’s* carrying the title. Sky then turns to his former SoCal Uncensored brother and gives his word that Kazarian has a shot next week for the TNT title.
Speaking of title shots, Jungle Boy will have a shot at Ricky Starks’s FTW Title. “Absolute Ricky” ain’t sweating his would-be challenger, and that prompts Jungle Boy to come out from backstage, and he starts brawling with Starks at commentary. Starks powders out, as Jungle Boy stands tall while his music plays.
Mark Henry with Takeshita and Jay Lethal, along with Sanjay Dutt and Satnam Singh. Takeshita says he is not afraid, but Sanjay Dutt challenges that notion, and suggests he should be. Even Lethal agrees and promises that he will give him a reason to be afraid.
Well, enough talk. It’s time for the Main Event, and it’s…
Jay Lethal (w/Satnam Singh & Sonjay Dutt) vs Konosuke Takeshita
During Justin Roberts’ ring introductions, Excalibur notes that Takeshita has wrestled for DDT Pro Wrestling, and that his Jumping Knee finisher is an homage by Jun Akiyama, and he has held the KO-D title early in his career with the promotion.
As the bell rings, Takeshita displays his power early on, but Lethal able to utilize veteran moves, and strut a bit a la Ric Flair (woo!). Takeshita gets back on track and gets a flying shoulder block with a strut back, too (woo!), and then hits a plancha to floor on Lethal. As he rolls Lethal back in the ring, Singh gets in his grill, and the young Takeshita gives some space to the giant. As he gets back in the ring, Lethal kicks his knee and nails a dragon screw Lep whip. Takeshita crashes to the floor, and Lethal goes on the attack with a tope suicida. Now Lethal keeps on the attack during Picture in Picture and focuses on the bad knee on Takeshita to take out his main finisher, and he accomplishes that with another dragon screw leg whip, and then grounds him with a leg submission.
He tries the Lethal Injection early on, but Takeshita hits a dropkick to the breadbasket, and Lethal doubles over and heads out of the ring. Takeshita gives chase and Lethal sends him to the guardrails. He rushes but Takeshita dodges and Lethal now crashes into the same rails. Back in the ring, Takeshita goes up top, but Lethal stops him at the pass and tries a superplex, but Takeshita delivers a massive avalanche lariat, and he covers for a pin, but only gets a two count. He tries a German suplex, but Lethal slinks through and locks in a figure four, but Takeshita gets out of the submission hold. He gets Lethal in a sheer drop brainbuster, but that gets Takeshita another two count. He goes for another lariat, but Lethal ducks and gets his signature Lethal Combination, but only gets a two count. Takeshita Ramps up the offense and now connects with a lariat and the jumping knee finisher to cover, but Dutt gets up on the ring apron to distract ref. After he tells him to get off, the ref finally turns around to count, but Lethal escapes at two. Lethal gets a rollup but Takeshita kicks out and sends him to the ropes but uses the momentum and nails the Lethal Injection finisher to get the one, two, and three.
Your Winner via Pinfall: Jay Lethal
After the match, Dutt and Lethal put the boots to the young Japanese upstart. That brings out Best Friends to get in the mix. Singh manages to take down Baretta and Chuck Taylor, and he dribbles his head on the mat. Now Orange Cassidy is up on the apron, and as Singh stalks him…Cassidy jumps off and gestures to Samoa Joe, who’s coming down the ring with a lead pipe. Before he can cause any damage, security swarms the ROH Television champ, and that’s how it ends as the show fades to black.
TOP PHOTO: Yuka Sakazaki swings into Riho. Photo by George Tahinos, georgetahinos.smugmug.com
If anything, the Owen Hart Women’s Invitational is indicative that the Women’s roster will be a strong lineup. As Hook-Hausen is growing every day, Jay Lethal and company are making a case for why the new ROH will be a big deal when it finally comes to life.
Anyway, we’ll see you in seven!